Friday, October 16, 2009

UAV Updates: University Websites and Latest UAV: MIT Indoor Autonomous Helicopter

Advances in autonomous helicopters have been many over the years, but as far as we can tell, there's essentially no limit to how awesome they can get. MIT's recently developed an autonomous, robotic helicopter which is also able to navigate itself intelligently through a changing environment. The helicopter, which is equipped with a dual-camera array and a laser scanner, maps its terrain in real time, identifying changes along the way. An integrated autonomous exploration module allows the heli to interact with the changing, unknown environment it is mapping. The helicopter was shown off at the AUVSI 2009 International Aerial Robotics Competition, completing five missions -- a feat not before seen in the 19-year history of the show. Check out the very educational video after the break.

Arizona State University
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle 2005 Capstone Engineering Project
Our contract called for the design, construction, and testing of a wing-hub assembly for a novel new UAV. This vehicle is intended as a fixed-wing drone that our helicopter pilots can deploy in flight to scout ahead, and which converts to auto-gyro mode for safe vertical landing and recovery in rough terrain. The page links below will guide you through our project.

Carnegie Mellon University
Autonomous Helicopter Project
The goal of Autonomous Helicopter Project is to develop a vision-guided robot helicopter which can autonomously carry out the following goal mission in any weather conditions and using only on-board intelligence and computing power.

Clarkson University
Inflatable Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (i-UAV)
The i-UAV Team is an interdisciplinary group of faculty and students in the Schools of Engineering and Arts and Sciences interested in aeronautical and space design, dynamic systems, controls, and optimization. The i-UAV team members combine expertise and capabilities from a broad range of disciplines. Professors from Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Department and from Mathematics and Computer Science and Physics are working together with a group of talented students toward the design, modeling, realization and tests of novel UAV concept.

Cornell University
Cornell University Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Team
Cornell University UAV team is a group of undergraduate engineering students who work together to design, construct, test and eventually fly an autonomous fixed wing aircraft in AUVSI's International Student Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Competition.

Drexel University
Closed Quarter Aerial Robotics (CQAR)
Indoor aerial robotics is a new and emerging field of study and is the central focus of my research. I am currently working on a project entitled Closed Quarter Aerial Robotics (CQAR) that has applications such as surveilling/monitoring large indoor areas to safe keep stadiums, warehouses, subway tunnels and train stations. The CQAR prototype (designed by Gordon Johnson) weighs 27 g (app. the weight of 3 quarters) and flies at about 5 mph.

Florida Institute of Technology
Versatile Robotic Tilt-rotor for Information Gathering Operations (VERTIGO)
In our project we will build an aircraft that can take off and land vertically and fly horizontally. We will base our design on the idea behind the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey. With VERTIGO we hope to expand into the market of unmanned air vehicles (UAV). Our vehicle will be one of the first UAVs to exploit the benefits of the airplane and the helicopter. We anticipate that companies and/or people will want this vehicle because of its surveillance capabilities coupled with the all the benefits of both airplanes and helicopters.

Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Tech Aerial Robotics

Georgia Tech UAV Research Facility

Georgia Tech Aerial Robotics Team

GTRI Traffic UAV

Iowa State University
Microprocessor-Controlled Aerial Robotics Team (Micro-CART)
The goal of Micro-CART is to launch Iowa State University into this (International Aerial Robotics Competition) competition. An autonomous helicopter will be used for the primary vehicle, and it will carry a smaller sub-vehicle to assist in completing the task. Due to the level of complexity involved with the design and creation of these vehicles, this project will take longer than two semesters to complete. The current projected completion date is Spring 2005 for the July competition.

Lehigh University
Micro Aerial Vehicle Research
Designed a micro-UAV to compete in the 2005 International MAV Competition.

LeTourneau University
Phoenix Project
Undergraduate UAV design/ build club that competes in the International Aerial Robotics Competition.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

PCUAV: Parent Child Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
PCUAV is MIT's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics' answer to long distance unmanned surveillance. Our goal is to demonstrate key technologies of a system that will provide a low-cost solution to real-time long-distance observation (In short: Getting close from a distance).

MIT/Draper Autonomous Helicopter Project
The Draper Small Autonomous Aerial Vehicle, or DSAAV, is a high-end radio-control helicopter that has been instrumented and computerized to fly autonomously. As a demonstration of its capabilities, the DSAAV team, lead by Draper engineer Paul DeBitetto, entered the helicopter in the Sixth Annual International Aerial Robotics Contest held at the EPCOT Center, and won. The objective of vehicles entered in the contest was to autonomously survey a field containing hazardous waste barrels and report the barrel locations within one meter.

Mesa State College
MSC Aerial Robotics
Our Mission is to design and build an autonomous flying robot that will meet and exceed the requirements of the Associations for Unmanned Vehicle Systems' International Aerial Robotics Competition and take fist place.

Mississippi State University
MSU is apart of a UAV competition. This is their site covering what they did.

New Mexico State University
NMSU has a UAV group under the branch of Aerospace & Autonomous Systems Laboratory.

North Carolina State University
NCSU Aerial Robotics Club
The ARC at NC State wants to create an outlet for engineering students to challenge themselves in completing missions the world deems currently impossible. The NCSU Aerial Robotics team was formed in Oct 2000 and plans to participate in two international autonomous flying robotics competitions. We strive to create a fleet of autonomous vehicles for research and for competitions.

Pima Community College
UAV Club
The main activity of the Pima UAV Club is to compete in the International Aerial Robotics Competition (IARC).

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Robotics Team
The Robotics Team is building a helicopter-style unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for a national contest this summer. It has to be able to fly from one point to another, identify a particular building, find an open window in that building, launch a robotic ground vehicle through the window, and avoid any obstacles - all without any human supervision.

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
UAV Project (Part of CAMP - Center for excellence and Advanced Manufacturing and Production)
We are a team of students and faculty at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology devoting our time and talent to develop an autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV for short. We will be competing in the International Aerial Robotics Competition which is being held at the McKenna Urban Operations Site at Fort Benning, Georgia this July.

Southern Polytechnic State University
Aerial Robotics Team
The SPSU Aerial Robotics Team has participated in the International Aerial Robotics Competition (IARC). This annual competition is sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems, International (AUVSI), and is involves both robot aircraft and artificial intelligence. This challenge, and is designed to make the students push the use of the technology further than ever.

Stanford University
Dragonfly Project
In a new project at Stanford University, funded by the FAA and DARPA and helped by the NASA Ames, we are developing systems to permit the robust navigation and enhanced control of a single UAV, as well as algorithms for the coordinated flight of multiple UAVs.

HUMMINGBIRD Aerospace Robotics Laboratory
HUMMINGBIRD is a small autonomous helicopter build by a team at the ARL. It consists of a heavily modified "60 size" remote control model helicopter with a 2.76 engine. Navigational sensing is provided entirely by a pair of Trimble Global Positioning System receivers operating using Differential Carrier Phase calculations. By using four separate antennas, HUMMINGBIRD is able to sense its attitude as well as position with GPS. As an additional sensor, HUMMINGBIRD has an onboard camera system to gather additional information about its environment. Using this system, HUMMINGBIRD is capable of object location, identification, and retrieval using a retractable tether with a magnet ic manipulator. HUMMINGBIRD's current flight capabilities include autonomous take-off, hover, trajectory following, and landing. The ability to fly autonomously and retrieve a small ferromagnetic disk was sufficient to win the 1995 International Aerial Robotics Competition sponsored by the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). Stanford was the first and only team in the six years of this competition to successfully retrieve and move a target disk.

Texas A&M University
The Texas Buzzard
The Texas Buzzard is an autonomous UAV for aerial reconnaissance developed by a team of Aerospace Engineering students at Texas A&M University for entry in the 2004 AUVSI Student UAV Competition.

The Ohio State University
The Aerial Robotics Team
The mission requires that an autonomous vehicle fly to a specified location from a distance of 3 kilometers and identify a particular structure. Once the structure is identified a sensor probe must carry out reconnaissance of a particular type. Access to the structure will be through doors, windows etc. The required information will not be accessible from the outside; therefore the probe must access the interior in order to achieve the desired information.

University of Arizona
Aerial Robotics Club
Undergraduate UAV design/ build club that competes in the International Aerial Robotics Competition.

Aerial Robotics at the University of Arizona
Undergraduate UAV design/ build club that competes in the International Aerial Robotics Competition.

University of California at Berkley
BEAR: Berkeley Aerobot Team
The BErkeley AeRobot (BEAR) project is a collective, interdisciplinary research effort at UC Berkeley that encompasses the disciplines of hybrid systems theory, navigation, control, computer vision, communication, and multi-agent coordination, since 1996. They currently operate six fully instrumented helicopters, in addition to many fixed- and rotary wing vehicles under development, equipped with GPS/INS, camera, and other sensors on board, which we have been using to validate our control systems design algorithms for UAVs.

University of Central Florida
Robotics Laboratory Project Pegasus
We are designing an autonomous hovering platform for the AUVSI International Autonomous Aerial Vehicle Competition. The power plant will consist of four electric lift motors and two electric pusher motors. The vehicle will be able to fly autonomously, avoid obstacles, and locate objects using a machine vision system. The object detection will be done using a machine-learning algorithm that classifies images. Humming Bird
Same as above.

University of Colorado
The University of Colorado has a research department dedicated to UAV research. The UAV applications are aimed towards earth and atmospheric research. They also have a great news section aimed towards UAVs being used for research.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
UIUC Aerial Robotics Club
“We’re gonna git you sucka.” The ARC intended to give students learning opportunities in a real-world application of some of the latest robotics technologies. Our ultimate goal is to compete in the International Aerial Robotics Competition. To do so we have full autonomy to undertake whatever research, design and construction necessary to the completion of that goal. Our past projects have included autonomous land vehicles, blimp, and fixed wing aircraft--all working with some degree of success. Currently we are undertaking the most ambitious project, the design and construction of a fully autonomous helicopter that will compete in the International Aerial Robotics Competition.

University of Maryland
Autonomous Vehicle Laboratory
The Autonomous Vehicle Laboratory (AVL) conducts research and development in the areas of advanced aerospace vehicle concepts that incorporate autonomous and intelligent software for making complex decisions. Applications include micro, mini and full-scale Uninhabited Air Vehicles, nano-satellites, and other robotic systems.

University of Notre Dame
Micro Aerial Vehicle Development Group
The Notre Dame Micro Aerial Vehicle Development Group is no longer active at the University of Notre Dame. The pages associated with this website have not been updated since May 2002. Some of the original web page materials remain within this website as a reference for other micro air vehicle developers. However, it is duly noted that the information on this website is dated and many of the links to other webpages have not been verified to still be accurate. It is likely that the contents of this web page will disappear completely in the future.

University of Southern California
Autonomous Flying Vehicle Project
The USC Autonomous Flying Vehicle Project was initiated in 1991. Since then the Robotic Embedded Systems Laboratory has designed, built and conducted research with four robot helicopters, the latest being the 3rd generation AVATAR (Autonomous Vehicle Aerial Tracking And Reconnaissance). Since the beginning of the project, a guiding design philosophy has been to create flying robots with high levels of autonomy. Initially, the focus of our research was in creating a reliable control mechanism for a model helicopter. Once that had been achieved we focused on performing higher lever tasks with the helicopter. Besides stable autonomous flight, today we are able to perform tasks such as GPS waypoint navigation, autonomous vision-based landing and autonomous sensor deployment. We are currently researching areas such as autonomous landing on a moving target, deployment on a moving target, stealthy target pursuit and vision-based obstacle avoidance in 3D.

University of Texas at Austin
UT Aerial Robotics
The University of Texas Aerial Robotics Team is composed of people from the University's Robotics Team. Our mission is to build an unmanned autonomous flying vehicle for the 2005 IARC competition. For Fall 2004 we are focused on a fixed wing system to complete the GPS waypoint navigation stage. We will keep our working helicopter system in good shape but first we will get a foothold on testing procedures with the fixed system.

University of Texas at Arlington
Autonomous Vehicles Laboratory (AVL)
The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) is rejuvenating its Autonomous Vehicles Laboratory (AVL). The AVL is concerned with answering a host of research questions related to engineering remotely-controlled, autonomous, and cooperatively-controlled unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), as well as numerous supporting technologies. The AVL is equally concerned with providing undergraduate and graduate students with multidisciplinary engineering experiences in developing AVs. The AVL will eventually become a microcosm where student teams apply "best practices" to create AV solutions that can win international student competitions.

University of Washington
Flight Systems Laboratory

Trans-Pacific UAV Design
The UW-TransPac UAV is a 55 lbs all composite UAV capable of carrying a payload of 5.5 lbs over a range of 5000 miles. A full scale vehicle (with a temporary fuselage) was tested thoroughly at the Kirsten Wind Tunnel. The full vehicle, including the final graphite-epoxy fuselage, wing, tail, and control surfaces, was completed on schedule within 15 weeks of project start. The UW-TransPac can be launched using a catapult or a conventional landing gear. It was designed for simplicity and low cost.

Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech Autonomous Aerial Vehicle Team (AAVT)
The Virginia Tech Autonomous Aerial Vehicle Team is comprised of 22 members of the Mechanical Engineering department. The goal of our team is to design and equip two aerial vehicles for autonomous, unmanned flight. The vehicles will perform in two separate competitions sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicles International (AUVSI). Our team is funded and supported by various sponsors, and the JOUSTER group.


Exeter University (United Kingdom)
4th Year UAV Project
An ongoing project here at the department of Engineering is the Flying Platform project. Running for the past two years as a 4th year group project the aim has been to design, manufacture and develop an autonomous flying platform. The specifications required of the project has meant that a large number of Engineering disciplines have had to be incorporated including, mechanical, control, electrical, management and structural engineering. The differing areas of the projects have included mathematical modeling, rotor design, ignition systems, gyroscopic stability and platform design.

Institut de Recherche en Communications et en Cybern├ętique de Nantes (France)
Robea-ROBVOLINT Project
The Robea-ROBVOLINT project, which include four laboratories (IRCCyN, I3S, IRISA/Rennes and CEA/List), is directed by Professor Tarek Hamel (I3S). This project aims at making progress knowledge in the field of aerial robotics with an application in indoor environment. This goal requires a scientific and technical gait leading in parallel and narrowly the developments of the theory and experimentation.

Monash University (Australia)
Aerobotics Research Group at Monash
The Aerobotics© (Aerial Robotics) Research Group at Monash, established in 1999, is interested in all aspects of the design, construction and application of UAVs. The Group's primary focus is on electrically powered aircraft however its research is also supported by more conventional aircraft particularly for long range applications.

Queensland University of Technology (Australia)
What are we trying to do here in the QUT Avionics Dept? Well, we produce approximately 50 highly skilled avionics engineers each year. The QUAV projects are designed to challenge and provide practical experience in working on aerospace projects for the students. In addition, the staff associated with these projects have a great desire and enthusiasm in developing robust UAV platforms. QUT Avionics are not so interested in aerodynamic design of our UAVs, but more in the control aspects of the UAVs.

Simon Fraser University (Canada)
Helicopter Automation With Control Systems (HAWCS)
We are a bunch of students and hobbyists working on UAV systems. We call ourselves HAWCS, which comes from our group name for an undergraduate engineering project class in 2001. Our initial goal is to implement an autopilot for a model helicopter. However, our eventual goal is to achieve the mission and win the top prize at the annual International Aerial Robotics Competition.

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Switzerland)
UAV Group (within the Measurement and Control Laboratory)
Our group deals with various aspects of flight control, navigation, trajectory planning, and mission management for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Originally our main focus was on robust flight control for unmanned helicopters. However, during the last few years we have extended our research activities on flight control for fixed wing aircraft and airships as well as integrated navigation algorithms and computer board developments.

Technische Universitaet Berlin (Germany)
MARVIN (Multi-purpose Aerial Robot Vehicle with Intelligent Navigation)
Since 1993 the Real Time Systems & Robotics Group (PDV) has been developing autonomously operating flying robots for participation in the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International's (AUVSI) International Aerial Robotics Competition (IARC). This work has been done basically by students in the framework of the project course "PDV-/Robotik-Projekt" and master's theses.

University of Alberta (Canada)
University of Alberta Aerial Robotics Group
The University of Alberta Aerial Robotics Group (UAARG) is an interdisciplinary student group that actively involved in the design and construction of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for the International Aerial Robotics Competition (IARC) as well as the Seafarers Student UAV Competition.

University of British Columbia (Canada)

Fizz Aerial Robotics Club
Official web site of the Fizz Aerial Robotics Club.

University of Ottawa (Canada)
Advanced Robotic Innovations Society in Engineering (ARISE) Aerial
The Advanced Robotic Innovations Society in Engineering (ARISE) is a student run club design to foster a competitive interest in robotics at the University of Ottawa. ARISE is an organization dedicated to research, education, and innovation. Founded in October 2003, we are a team of highly dedicated engineering and administrative students looking to create a name for ourselves within the school and among universities in North America. In response to the great amount of interest we've received, ARISE is very happy to announce our expansion into a new project this year - the AUVSI's International Aerial Robotics Competition (IARC).

University of Sydney (Australia)
Research on Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and Robotic Aircraft
The Aeronautical Engineering UAV Research Group has one of Australia’s largest and most active team of robotic aircraft researchers, comprising of up to ten academics and research students. Originally developed to provide flight research platforms in support of the department’s various research activities, they are also used to enhance skills in airframe design and fabrication, flight instrumentation, flight control systems, and operational aspects of UAVs. They form the basis of technology demonstrators for many aspects of Aeronautical Engineering, and are now also being used to explore commercial applications for autonomous flight vehicles.

University of Waterloo, Canada (Canada)
Waterloo Aerial Robotics Group
The Waterloo Aerial Robotics Group is a team of University of Waterloo students who, with the support of our sponsors, are developing a series of fully autonomous flying robots for entry into the International Aerial Robotics Competition. The objective of this multi-year competition is to push the envelope of technology by seriously challenging students to accomplish near-impossible mission objectives. The goal is to build a fleet of air vehicles capable of flying three kilometers, identifying target buildings, entering the structures and navigating inside to obtain visual reconnaissance information.


Many other universities, both domestic and international, have UAV/ aerial robotics clubs or teams. However, they either do not have a group website and/or where part of a design course. Below is a list of some universities:
Illinois Institute of Technology

Kansas University

Mississippi State University Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Team

Oregon State University Aerial Robotics Team

Santa Clara University Aerial Robotics Team

University of Calgary Autonomous Robotics Team

University of Toronto Aerial Robotics Club

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